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Obama Foundation Announces 200 Leaders for New Civic Leadership Program in Africa

July 11, 2018 at 9:00 AM CDT

Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa gathering to take place July 14-18 in Johannesburg, including a town hall with President Obama

CHICAGO, IL — The Obama Foundation today announced the 200 rising leaders selected for the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program. Leaders participating in this one-year leadership development and civic engagement program will gather on July 14 in Johannesburg, South Africa, for a five-day convening designed to train, support, and connect emerging African leaders working across different sectors to create positive change in their communities.

The Leaders selected have already demonstrated extraordinary potential for impact, a clear commitment to integrity, and a capacity to advance the common good within their spheres of influence. They represent 44 countries and every region in Africa and are working in a range of disciplines including health, agriculture, media, government, education, business, and technology, and on issues such as climate change, conservation, entrepreneurship, food security, and girls empowerment. To learn more about the individuals selected for the Leaders: Africa program, please visit

“The Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program is our largest and most ambitious international effort to date -- the launch of what will become a global network of changemakers,” said Bernadette Meehan, Chief International Officer of the Obama Foundation. “We want to inspire, empower, and connect this pan-African group of leaders who show so much potential to change our common future for the better. We look forward to hearing their ideas and to supporting them to scale their work and reach.”

From July 14 through July 18, Leaders will participate in plenary sessions, problem-solving workshops, leadership sessions, and skillbuilding trainings to increase their capacity to drive positive change in Africa -- all from an African perspective. The majority of the convening’s speakers and facilitators are African, and the agenda and activities are focused on regional and local challenges, opportunities, and solutions. Leaders will also complete a group service project to honor Nelson Mandela on the 100th anniversary of his birth and to underscore the important relationship between leadership and service. The convening will also include an opportunity for Leaders to participate in a town hall event with President Obama.

Following the Johannesburg convening, Leaders will remain connected to the Obama Foundation and each other through an online platform where they will engage in topical discussions, access leadership and training resources, and participate in trainings and webinars led by experts and industry leaders.

The Foundation will be sharing select video from the gathering daily on and via press release. To ensure you receive these updates, please sign up here (Opens in a new tab).

While in South Africa, President Obama will also deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture to commemorate the 100th anniversary of former South African President Nelson Mandela’s birth. President Obama’s speech will take place on July 17, 2018. For information on the Mandela Lecture, please contact Lunga Nene at [email protected].


Contact: Kate Berner, [email protected]